Creating a will is often considered the most important of the estate planning process. Your will provides a blueprint as to how your estate will be managed in Pennsylvania when you pass away.
Your will should contain the name of an executor who will handle your affairs and the name of a guardian to care for your minor children, if you have any. Your will should also contain a detailed list of your assets and specify which of your beneficiaries will be receiving which assets.
Most people will need to update their will multiple times during their lifetime
Life brings about a lot of expected and unexpected changes, both good and bad. The people you were once close with when your will was first created may no longer be in your life for a multitude of reasons. For example, if you get divorced and enter into a new relationship and pass away without updating your will, your ex-spouse could end up with assets that you would have wanted your new partner to get.
Because of these situations, experts say it is important to review your will at least once every three to five years and make changes as necessary.
You should also make sure to update your will when a major event occurs. Some of these major events may include: the death of a spouse or child, the birth of a child, divorce, getting remarried, purchasing a home, or moving out of state.
Do I need to create a new will each time?
If you are making major changes to your will, it may be best to start from scratch and create a new will. Once your new will goes into effect, it will automatically override your old one. However, it is best to destroy the old will and include a clause in your new will indicating that it overrides any previous wills.
If you are making smaller changes (e.g., adding a beneficiary), a codicil or an addendum to your existing will is generally enough.
Updating a will is just as important as creating it. Make sure that you update you estate plan regularly so that your current wishes are reflected.